Bookies robber told to get help with gambling problem

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard of betting shop raid.
Hamilton Sheriff Court heard of betting shop raid.

A taxi driver who robbed a betting shop has been ordered to get help with his gambling problem.

A sheriff decided not to jail Kenneth Duncan who told a 20-year-old female member of staff he had a knife and demanded money.

He admitted robbing the employee of £375 at Coral in Main Street, Uddingston, in October 2014.

Duncan (36), of Castle Street, Hamilton, appeared at the town’s sheriff court today, having failed to turn up last month for sentence.

The court heard that during the robbery he approached the counter and passed a betting slip on which had been written “I have a knife. Just give me the money. I don’t want to use it.”

Wearing a hooded top, he had his right hand within the top’s right hand pocket.

He told the assistant he didn’t want to hurt her, adding: “I’m desperate.”

Duncan pushed his hand forward within his pocket, making the young woman fear he had a knife.

When notes were handed over he left the premises, but he was traced through CCTV.

A defence agent said Duncan had shown “significant remorse”.

Sheriff Shiona Waldron criticised the accused for failing to co-operate with a social worker preparing background reports then not turning up for sentence last month.

He spent more than three weeks in custody awaiting sentence after police traced him.

Sheriff Waldron told him: “I have been offered no explanation for your non-attendance, but you’ll understand how serious it is since you were remanded in custody.”

The sheriff put Duncan under supervision for 18 months and ordered him to get help with his gambling, drink and drug problems. He must also do 200 hours of unpaid community work within eight months.

The sheriff warned she was giving him an alternative to prison and he will be jailed if he fails to comply.